Last year, Steven Soderbergh emerged from "retirement" to direct HBO's Behind the Candelabra, sparking questions about his future as a filmmaker and storyteller. On Tuesday, the award-winning director posted a feature length mash-up of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho and Gus Van Sant's 1998 remake on his website.
By creating this excellently executed (pardon the pun) video of one of cinema's most iconic scenes, Soderbergh shows us a meta-creation of sorts. It's an interpretation of an interpretation of an interpretation. Hitchcock's film is an adaption of Robert Bloch's 1959 novel of the same name. Gus Van Sant famously recreated Hitchcock's Psycho shot-for-shot, requiring the utmost attention to detail for each frame.
This scene has been memorized, recreated, and parodied by so many that it is virtually impossible to experience it as audiences did for the first time in 1960. Yet, it is new and exciting in the hands of Soderbergh. He knows that we can never again feel that same level of suspense, so instead, he recreates the feeling of disorientation. Yes, we still know what's going to happen, but the interplay between the new and the old instantly highlights the perplexity of the scene. It also manages to bring us back to the feeling of shock; watching Anne Heche and Janet Leigh being stabbed on the same screen is more violent, more disturbing.
Watch Psychos in its entirety here.